PHOENIX -- Curt Schilling is known for his toughness, which was epitomized in the 2004 World Series when he pitched to victory despite a bleeding ankle injury.
The former Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks star announced Wednesday that he’s facing a new challenge: cancer.
“It was an absolute shock,” said Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall. “Anytime you hear anyone has been diagnosed, it’s alarming, and then someone who has been part of your family.”
Schilling revealed the news in a statement to ESPN, but has not elaborated on the type of cancer he’s battling.
“We’re wondering, wanting to know more,” Hall said. “How long has he known? What type is it? How advanced is it? Where is he getting his treatment? These are all questions we could even help with.”
Hall speaks from personal experience. He’s been open about his own fight against prostate cancer.
“It’s overwhelming, obviously," Hall said. "There’s worry, there’s fear, and there’s a bit of feeling sorry for yourself and questioning why. But you can’t. You just have to be positive and lean on your family and friends."
While details about Schilling’s cancer are unknown, Hall said early detection is the key to overcoming the disease, along with finding the right medical team.
Schilling’s wife, Shonda, overcame melanoma in 2001, after undergoing a series of surgeries.
“Lean on that, knowing that you’ve already ... been through it together,” Hall said. “Now it’s his turn, and she’s just as strong as he is. My advice is seek a second opinion, stay strong, stay positive, rely on each other, and you’ll get through it.”
In a statement to ESPN, Schilling said in part, "With my incredibly talented medical team, I'm ready to try and win another big game. I've been so very blessed and I feel grateful for what God has allowed my family to have and experience, and I'll embrace this fight just like the rest of them, with resolute faith and head on."